Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands risks repeating the errors of his predecessor Steve Walsh by making a mega-money move to sign Dinamo Zagreb’s rising star Dani Olmo.
According to Don Balon, the Toffees are one of a plethora of sides eying a move to sign the Spain U21 international this summer, with clubs from around Europe compiling files on the Terrassa-born attacking midfielder, including Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg.
His Croatian Hrvatski Telekom Prva Liga outfit, though, have slapped a staggering €25million (£22.4m) asking price on the former FC Barcelona youth product, who has eyes on a return to Catalunya five years after being released by the La Liga heavyweight.
Barca have also held serious conversations at their offices over a potential return to the Camp Nou for Olmo, after the 21-year-old starred at this summer’s Euro U21 Championship in Italy, even though Don Balon claim no one expected to see the midfielder forge a starting role for himself.
Olmo saw off the competition of Pablo Fornals, Mikel Oyarzabal and Carlos Soler, however, and scored three goals at the tournament, including in the final against Germany as he was named the Man of the Match.
Olmo now feels like he is ready to take on the next challenge of his career after four years in the Zagreb first-team, with whom he has made 102 appearances in all competitions, scoring 26 goals and creating a further 21.
Whether he should take that next step with Everton remains to be seen, though, as €25million would be a lofty fee to pay for an unproven midfielder who has struggled to hold down a regular starting position in the Hrvatski Telekom Prva Liga – making 24 of his 71 outings off the bench.
It is also rather fitting that the links between Everton and Olmo have emerged at a time we have sent Sandro Ramirez out on loan again, as the Barcelona product was signed on the back of the same junior international tournament in 2017.
He has proven to be far from what we needed, though, and while his £5.2million release clause may have been appealing at the time, his £65,000-a-week contract has been bleeding the club dry while he carried out torrid loan spells in La Liga, where his goal drought has just rolled on and on.
We also brought Nikola Vlasic from the Hrvatski Telekom Prva Liga in 2017 for £10million, but the 21-year-old has now been sold to CSKA Moscow after making 11 starts for the Blues before leaving for Russia on loan.
The two Walsh signings should act as a warning to Brands that while Olmo may look appealing, signing an unproven talent out of the Croatian top-flight could go down as one of his worst signings as Everton’s Director of Football.